‘The Paperboy’ Promoters Can’t Handle Bad Press

Today in Incestuous PR Fail News: DC-based media relations company PR Collaborative invited Eddie Scarry of our sister blog FishbowlDC to a screening of the neo-noir film The Paperboy—and he didn’t much care for it!

The film, directed by controversial Precious mastermind Lee Daniels and starring Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron (?), received a bit of press earlier this summer for featuring a scene in which Kidman’s character pees on the High School Musical star in order to relieve his allergic reaction to a jellyfish sting—not weird at all, right?

Anyway, Scarry did not pull any punches in calling the film “the nastiest, crudest, most disturbing move we’ve seen this year” and listing seven (mostly negative) points that viewers should consider before they decide whether to pay to see it.

Yes, we must say that the post was Brian Williams-level catty—and PR Collaborative did not like it one bit!

Eddie’s follow-up reveals that the representative called his post “over the line”, claiming that it wasn’t his “job” to review movies and calling him to task for not being respectful when writing about The Paperboy. Other scribes who attended screenings had similar reactions, however: For example, The HuffPo called it “nasty nonsense“, while Rex Reed of The Observer warned all readers to “avoid at all costs a trash-wallow about sex and inbred Southern racism”. See, now that one actually hurt!

We don’t really get it. Don’t the promoters of a film like this one want to court controversy? The Paperboy could be a big hit on the “midnight flick” circuit–we’re honestly more interested in seeing it after reading this exchange! Just because a movie happens to star Nicole Kidman doesn’t mean it can’t be the next Human Centipede.

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.